Oxfam and community organizations hail movement on RESTORE Act

By jlee

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(Washington, DC)—Oxfam America and Gulf Coast community organizations today congratulated the bipartisan group of senators in the mark up of the RESTORE Act, legislation that would direct fines incurred in the BP oil spill back to the affected area for coastal restoration.  The Senate Environment and Publics Works (EPW) Committee voted in favor of the legislation today.

“This is a bipartisan bill which will bring historic investments in increasing the resilience of some of our nation’s communities most vulnerable to natural and man-made disaster along America’s Gulf Coast,” said Minor Sinclair, program director of Oxfam’s US regional office.  “The bill would create potentially tens of thousands of jobs and retrain workers to build new pathways out of poverty for working families, including those whose livelihoods were impacted by the Deepwater Horizon disaster.  We congratulate EPW Chair Sen. Barbara Boxer for the quick action on the bill and hope it will move quickly to the Senate floor and that the House will follow suit.”

“This is an important step in the process of bringing much needed resources to the Gulf.  Every day we live with the aftermath of the oil spill.  This bill would mean crucial economic and ecosystem restoration.” said Rev. Tyrone Edwards of the Zion Travelers Cooperative Center, a Gulf Coast community group. Other  local organizations on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi—Bayou Grace, Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organization (BISCO), Coastal Women for Change (CWC), Steps Coalition, and Terrebone Readiness & Assistance Coalition (TRAC)—have all contributed greatly to garnering support for the RESTORE Act.

Sen. Mary Landrieu is spearheading the effort on the RESTORE Act (S. 1400) and is joined by eight other Gulf Coast senators as co-sponsors.  The investments will build the resilience of the communities and help restore critical protections within the coastal ecosystem.

The bill has overwhelming public support.  A recent, national survey of likely voters shows 83 percent support a proposal to direct fines paid by BP and other parties responsible for the Gulf oil spill back to the affected areas for restoration and renewal.